RUC Northern Ireland: Special reception to mark 100th anniversary of foundation of RUC and recognise service and sacrifice of officers and families

A special reception has been held by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council to mark the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the RUC and the sacrifice of its members and their families.

By Philip Bradfield
Monday, 6th June 2022, 6:13 pm
Updated Monday, 6th June 2022, 8:35 pm

At the event in the Braid Town Hall in Ballymena today, Mayor William McCaughey remembered the 462 officers who had lost their lives in the line of duty, and their families, since 1922, as well as those who suffered serious injuries and trauma.

He said: “Today, it is fitting that we remember and honour the brave men and women of the RUC and that we also remember the PSNI officers who have also paid the ultimate price and those who have been left with life-changing injuries because of terrorist acts.

“Alongside the sacrifice and the heroism of officers and staff, are the accounts of what life was like for the families of officers. These are the narratives of friendships and comradery, of innovations, international recognition and world-leading achievements. Officers did suffer dreadfully, and alongside them, so too did their families.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Mid and East Antrim Mayor Councillor William McCaughey hosted an event at the Braid paying tribute to the service and sacrifice of members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC). From L-R, William Brown, USC B Specials President; Jim Lesley, USC B Specials; Mayor William McCaughey, John Hughes, USC B Specials; Bobby Andrews, USC B Specials Secretary. The USC served in a support capacity alongside the RUC during the Troubles.

“Just under 1,200 police families were forced to abandon their homes because of threats from terrorists across the political spectrum. The upheaval and the stress they suffered was immense. Often with little warning, husbands, wives, children and other family members were spirited away to safe locations, to keep them safe from harm.

“The personal cost was very high. Partners had to quit their jobs with little to no notice; children were taken away from friends and relations and enrolled in new schools far from where they had grown up. No longer was it possible to just ‘drop in’ on extended family members or friends and keeping in contact with fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters, marking significant family events sometimes became virtually impossible. For some families, even doing the weekly shopping had to be planned and care taken.”

He added that the council will mark the sacrifices of the RUC GC this year. “We want the men and women who served so well and so selflessly and the families of those who cannot be with us to know ‘we will always be by your side; you will always have a home in this Borough’.”

Veterans of the Ulster Special Constabulary, which supported the RUC, also attended the event. Last month, the Prince of Wales praised the RUC GC for their “acts of courage and heroism” during a special centenary service at St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast.

The RUC was founded in 1922 and awarded the George Cross by HM The Queen for collective gallantry in 1999. Terrorism claimed the lives of 312 officers (302 from 1969-1998) with over 10,000 injured and 300 left severely disabled. Officers received 370 individual Gallantry Awards and 712 received Sovereign’s Awards for Distinguished Service.